Jan is making chocolate mousse to go with my 65th birthday dinner. For me Claudia’s Chocolate Mousse is the mousse by which all others are judged. It is however, not a health food. It has replaced cakes as the birthday treat in our house.
Note: Usually she make a double batch, but this year none of us really need the extra calories of leftovers
Jan has spent years perfecting the techniques of making mousse, but it took her years before she dared to tinker with mom’s recipe. She has since made many variations—one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight—she actually did one more, but she used so much ghost pepper that it was nearly inedible and I did not post it. This time she is trying some vanilla sugar and adding cinnamon.
Jan’s Cinnamon Chocolate Mousse
1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
½ cup vanilla sugar, separate uses
1 tsp. cinnamon
⅛ tsp. salt
2 eggs, separated
1 cup Straus whole milk
6 oz. good quality dark chocolate bits
1 cup Straus whipping cream
1. Mix the gelatin, one quarter cup sugar, cinnamon, and the salt thoroughly in the top of a double boiler.
Tip: If you do not have a D.B., a metal mixing bowl over a pot of water works fine.
2. Beat together the egg yolks and milk and add them to the gelatin mixture.
3. Add the chocolate bits and cook over the boiling water, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is completely melted and well blended.
4. Remove the chocolate from the heat, stir in the vanilla.
5. Chill, in the refrigerator, until the sauce is thickened.
Tip: Jan has found that you should not skimp on this step. Let the mixture cool for a full 30 minutes, until it is completely chilled.
Note: If the mixture is at all warm when you fold them together, the chocolate sauce, meringue, and whipped cream will separate into layers. Instead of a uniform creamy mousse, you will end up with a slightly dense pudding layer and a fluffy creamy layer on top. This separation is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are serving the mousse in individual bowls, you get two chocolaty experiences for the price of one, but it is not the true mousse.
6. In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff.
Tip: Be sure not to get any egg yolk or water in your egg whites or they will not form the meringue properly.
7. Beat the remaining quarter cup of sugar into the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.
8. Fold the meringue into the chocolate mix.
Tip: Folding is not the same as stirring. To fold you take a spatula and gently scoop the mix from the bottom, bring it up and lay it in the top. Rotate the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until the mix is well blended.
9. Whip the cream in a separate bowl and fold it into the mix.
Tip: You may wash and dry the meringue bowl to limit the number of bowls you use.
Note: You may reserve some of the whipped cream to put on top of the mouse as a garnish.
10. At this point you may spoon the mouse into individual serving cups or into a decorative serving bowl.
Note: We usually use a clear glass, floral, salad bowl.
11. Set the mouse in the refrigerator.
Tip: Once the mousse has started to set, covered it with plastic wrap, and do not disturb it until you are ready to serve.
Note: Jan has found that if you cover the mousse as soon as you are finished folding it, some condensation forms on the plastic and rains down on your mouse, spoiling the creamy finish.
12. Chill until completely firm.
13. Serve cold or at room temperature.